It is like taking a bath in front of an audience,
subconsciously, I am in constant negotiation between performance, efficiency or simply bathing.
A bath to cool down, to relax, to cleanse away the fatigue, stress and dust
A bath is at times sheer abandonment and leisure while in many instances it’s been to sooth aching muscles.
They see me luxuriate and wonder how I can relax in such a shallow tub
As I vigorously scrub away at what I feel is dirty, they watch
as I massage certain parts and merely splash water on others.
They observe as I wince at the sting of soap in my eyes
or when I sit still, eyes tightly shut as I am jarred by pain from scratching a scar that has not healed properly.
Even if I miss a spot, they can only watch and see and may not be able to tell me as they are not sure they should be watching anyway or they may not feel the right to tell it to me.
They are torn between thoughts of ‘she wanted us to watch or else she wouldn’t bathe in public’ or ‘maybe she simply wanted to bath out in the sunshine and we should walk away and not watch.’
When I use a pumice stone on my face, a terry cloth on my legs or a cotton swab on my back, they can merely look on, they wait to see how I wash my lady parts, scrub my nails, do I wash behind my ears or if I rinse my hair more than once.
Those that interact outside bath time may become more understanding of the scratches on my face or they may become scared and interpret my actions as madness or they may simply walk away and think, ‘well, what’s the big deal? we all do that anyway.’
Writing about myself is in some ways like bathing.